Bandhas and endometriosis


#1

Dear all, I would like to ask some question in relation to yoga and endometriosis. Some yoga poses been known to help relieve pain during menstruation and of course inverted poses are to be avoided. In this article of yoga journal, it is recommended that women with endometriosis to avoid engaging bandhas reason being Uddiyana Bandha and Mula Bandha can change the pressure in the abdomen and pelvis, which can have an effect on the organs. Since the organs may already be under stress from scar tissue, the effect of the bandhas is too unpredictable to risk.

Would like to know if anyone has more insights on this matter?

(Since I started my personal practice of Ashtanga, I have been experiencing menstrual pain which quite rarely happen before I started Ashtanga. And well I have been diagnosed with endometriosis 4 years ago. I do not want to think that is the reason why the pain is appearing because there are lot other reasons that can be contribute to that)


#2

It’s a bit late here so my apologies if there’s a lack of clarity in my reply.

There are, to me, two points here. The first is to determine the purpose of the action or practice for the person doing it. The second is risk-relative-to-safety in current day yoga practice.

For the first point I prefer to have the student (you in this case) outline the intention or “why” the particular thing is being done. So I’ll pose that question here:

What is the purpose (for you) in the practice of the aforementioned bandhas? If it is only being done because this practice mandates it or this teacher says so … then it begs a larger question. Without having a purpose for the doing it is nearly impossible to weigh whether it should be done in the face of that which is delivers.

For example, if the purpose in doing uddiyana bandha (for you) is to cultivate the pillar of light, spread that light from the central channel into all of the cells of your body, AND this is actually happening from the practice, then it may be completely appropriate to continue.

However my preference, for the practice, is to err on the side of caution. And this segues into my second point. There are many things advocated, taught, and done today that appear to have little int he way of sound teaching, preparation, or context to them. That is NOT to say bandhas are one of them but it is not to say that they are not.

From what I have seen, bandhas and mudras are over-practiced and under-instructed. They are often carelessly shared before it is time, in ways that overlook safety, to those not fully prepared. If this is in doubt one only need look through the myriad of yoga videos available on the Internet.

So in this case I would suggest abstaining from the practice of bandhas (and by that I refer to the classical definition of each) considering the issue with endometriosis and its ramifications. As with all things, see what happens (when erring on the side of caution) and go from that point.

And as I’ve said many times before, these sorts of questions should be posed to one’s teacher or one’s teacher’s teacher. When such a thing is not possible or pursued, it prevents an answer within the lineage of the particular practice and inhibits an appropriate relationship between student and teacher.

Hope this is helpful for you.
If it requires clarification on my part please feel free to ask, either in the thread or through PM.

gordon


#3

Pooikuan,

I agree with IA here, but am guessing what he meant to say is that bandas are not “under,” but over-instructed, which is true. They are over-practiced as well and unnecessarily so.

Uddiyana and mula bandhas develop indirectly, not through deliberate contraction as they are often taught, but through subtle actions: coordinated sequence involving posture and breathing which begins only after you have acquired a good deal of yogic strength and experience, after some, several years of asana/pranayama practice. They are as much about release as they are contraction, partly involuntary, partly aided and tend to happen by themselves right about the same time you realize you should not contract, but let go.

I don’t know what the implications for bandhas are with regard to your condition, but just ignore doing them. See if the problem persists without them.

siva


#4

Thank you for catching that Siva.

What I was intending to communicate is that the application and execution of bandha is not fully and completely instructed. So while it appears everyone is teaching it, there isn’t much teaching in the teaching. That is why I chose “under” instructed. As in lacking proper instruction.

For me, to over instruct would be to provide more detail in a repetitive fashion such that the instructions themselves were redundant.

I hope this clarifies my initial comments.